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UFC 173 results: T.J. Dillashaw destroys Renan Barao to win title

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LAS VEGAS – With massive odds against him, T.J. Dillashaw not only defied them, but he made them look like they were inadvertently reversed.

Dillashaw dominated bantamweight champion Renan Barao to win the title, even as the Brazilian entered the fight as a favorite of as much as 10-to-1, and with many calling him the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It was Barao’s first loss since 2005.

Dillashaw (10-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) outstruck Barao (32-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) at nearly every turn, planting him on the canvas in the first round and then never looking back, even when Barao tried to answer. But instead of cruising to a dominant decision win, Dillashaw stayed after the finish in the fifth round – ultimately putting the champion on the canvas with a left hand before pouncing to finish off the massive upset.

Post #1   5/25/14 1:04:21AM   

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Alright, folks. Those of you who've been on the Playground for a while know what kind of posts to expect from me. Analytical, respectful, but a bit cautious. Hell, I don't even bet, partly because I like being surprised.

So when I predict a fight, it's when I'm ridiculously confident. And when I've called it correctly, I haven't gloated.

Until now.

Called it. Called it. Called it. And yes, I put some real money on this.

Now, onto the fight itself.

We know the big overhand right in R1 that changed the fight. I was howling like an idiot right after. For the first time in his UFC career, and maybe in his entire fighting career, Barao looked scared. It was like Diego Sanchez after R1 with BJ Penn.

Don't get me wrong - Barao showed the heart of a champion. He was still in the fight for nearly 20 minutes more, still catching Dillashaw when he could, but the problem was that he was fighting a faster, sharper, more clever opponent.

I cannot overstate the brilliance of Dillashaw's movement. Up until recently, Dominick Cruz is the guy most people would say had the best footwork at 135, and I'd agree. Cruz is also tougher than he gets credit for, because his injuries make it seem like he's made of balsa. But that's another story - the thing about Dillashaw's movement isn't that it's just lateral, or that his forward movement is only to set up a kneetap takedown. No, it's that he moves with purpose, with aggression, and with neutralizing his opponent's strengths.

Remember Barao's spinning kicks? Yeah, he landed, like, 1 tonight. Why was that? Because Dillashaw typically circled left, away from Barao's spins. And the beautiful thing was that not only were Barao's spins nullified, Dillashaw made him pay for them with heavy counters.

And the pressure. It was heavy, but intelligent. Whenever Barao started backing up, Dillashaw pursued him just enough to land some shots, then backed off before he got reckless. He also switched stances not only while standing still, but sometimes mid-combination. Who else does that?

Dillashaw didn't do everything right. He got a little greedy in R2, headhunting a bit too much. He got tagged a few times afterwards, opening a cut over his right eye. And he didn't do the best job of checking Barao's leg kicks.

With that said, Dillashaw course corrected partway thru R2 and kept that up. And Barao didn't even throw that many leg kicks, anyway - they weren't a factor.

Duane Ludwig's comment in between rounds 4 and 5 was great. In case you missed it: "We're gonna give him a seminar, not even gonna charge him."

The moment when Faber & Benavidez were going ham in the crowd for their boy was right in the heart. And what a sendoff for Ludwig as well. Dude was straight up crying with the camera on him, no shame at all.

So. What's next for Dillashaw? Well, as Ben Fowlkes put it, him and Team Alpha Male will have an epic afterparty, in which each of the tiny bastards will get drunk off 1 beer.

Afterwards, who's the next challenger? If it's Takeya Mizugaki, who admittedly surprised me against a lethargic Cisco Rivera, I think he finally gets stopped by strikes. Dillashaw's too fast, too smart, and too versatile.

Barring that, perhaps a rematch with Raphael Assuncao. The marketing's already there - it's Dillashaw's most recent loss, a hotly-contested decision to a guy on a 6 fight win streak. And I think Dillashaw takes the rematch, especially in 5 rounds. Assuncao is quite skilled, but I think he'd eat a beating.

What a fight. Some seriously special stuff on display tonight. This isn't me hugging nuts - it was just brilliant.

Last edited 5/25/14 1:25AM server time by isk
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4 total post edits

Post #2   5/25/14 1:21:11AM   

DrivenDavies15

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Awesome card! Had pink eye in both eyes and had to miss work but this card definitely lifted my spirits!
I'm honestly so happy for TJ. I was shocked how he dominated Barao that whole fight. But seeing Team Alpha Male finally get the belt under Ludwig and them getting all emotional was something else
Cormier and Lawler were both pleasantly dominate as well. It's clear DC is a legit threat to both Jones and Gustafsson so he'll probably wait on the sidelines. As for Lawler I would really love to see him fight Matt Brown next

Post #3   5/25/14 1:23:29AM   

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WAR DILLASHAW

I was loving that fight wooooooooo

Great performance from TJ

Post #4   5/25/14 1:38:39AM   

sbulldavid

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DC kind of took away my desire to see Jones/Gustafson 2 that was one of the most absurd levels of domination that I've ever witnessed in one weight class .

Post #5   5/25/14 1:38:46AM   

JoeWarren33

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LOVE IT!

Post #6   5/25/14 1:42:48AM   

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The DC vs Hendo made me lose attention since everyone knew DC would do EXACTLY that but DAMN did TJ wake me up!

I don't mind eating crow this time around. Way to go TJ

Last edited 5/25/14 1:45AM server time by Owens92x
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Post #7   5/25/14 1:43:50AM   

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Way to go, isk.

_______________________________________
“I don’t know what kind of technique was used there, but there was a lot of kicking and punching.” Jim Brown

Post #8   5/25/14 8:52:39AM   

prozacnation1978

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Still in Vegas.

What a awesome fight.
Upset of the year. And a huge send off for bang
Very sad to see him going now.

Tj brought the pain and was relentless in his attacks
He truly earned his nickname the viper

I think tj should face mizugaki next.
I will say. I think he will defend his title in a sept Toronto now

Or in Brazil vs assuncao

I doubt barao gets a instant title shot.
He got his ass kicked

Post #9   5/25/14 8:58:46AM